THE DYNAMIC duo of Alex Gardner and Elliott Schutte will battle for the 2023 Workhorse Radical Cup Australia Series in Sydney next month following another intense weekend between the pair in South Australia.
Having pushed each other all the way in race one on Saturday at the Shell V-Power Motorsport Park, the pair resumed their battle on Sunday with another clinical performance seeing the Volante Rosso Motorsport driver once again leading the Arise Racer home by a narrow margin.
Gardner led home Schutte by six seconds on Sunday at The Bend, with Cooper Cutts superbly rebounding from early dramas to finish on the podium in third.
Overall, Gardner claimed another round win with Schutte second and Zig Fuhrmeister third overall on a countback.
Picking up where they left off on Saturday, Gardner and Schutte battled hard on the opening lap of Sunday’s 50-minute encounter with the latter gaining an advantage on the run into the opening corner.
Schutte led the race briefly, before Gardner got a better run out of turn six and was able to retake the top spot on the run down the hill through the ever-quickening turn seven and eight complex.
Behind them there was drama as Perini was slow away and passed by Fuhrmeister and Cooper Cutts.
That didn’t last long, however, as Cutts was hit from behind by Simon Arthur at Turn 6, both cars forced wide and off into the runoff area, resuming in the bottom half of the top-10. Arthur was penalized five seconds for his role in the contact.
Perini’s race wouldn’t last much longer either; the Bing Technologies #1 car slowing on the main straight with what would turn out to be electronic issues that affected gear selection on his GWR Australia entry, the champ ultimately pitting and retiring his car on lap seven.
The race settled down from there with the leaders making their compulsory pit stop on lap eight, Mark Rosser assuming the lead for one lap before he too stopped.
That left Adam Lisle in the lead, the Arise Racing squad electing to leave their figurehead in the car for longer before handing over to Jordan Oon.
In fact all three two-driver combinations ran long on Sunday; Lisle followed by Peter Clare and Melinda Price for several laps.
Clare handed over to Josh Hunt on lap 12, with Lisle doing the same as co-driver Jordan Oon took control of car 11 a lap later.
Price then assumed the lead – leading her first Radical laps – before stopping on lap 15 to hand over to Greg Kenny.
The clensed order had Gardner leading Schutte by six seconds, with Terry Knowles a stout third – until he had an off at turn six and lost several positions.
That drama allowed Cooper Cutts to continue his pathway back to the front of the field following his lap one issues, the West Aussie climbing back into the top three, Fuhrmeister also slipping through into fourth position.
Late changes saw Mark Rosser slip from fifth to seventh position in the final two laps, passed by Oon and the recovering Knowles, respectively, while out in front Gardner was able to manage his margin to Schutte.
He edged out to a strong victory over Schutte with Cutts third, Fuhrmeister, Oon and Lisle and Knowles next.
Behind Rosser, Nick Kelly, Brad Russell and the Peter Clare / Josh Hunt combo completed the top-10.
Adam Naccarata was 11th while Greg Kenny and Melinda Price finished 12th having led two laps mid-race.
James Hernandez, Simon Arthur, Sue Hughes and Warwick Churche completed the runners in race two.
With one round remaining, Gardner leads Schutte in the battle for the Workhorse Radical Cup Australia Series by 18 points, with either driver a potential champion.
Jordan Oon sits third in the standings, with Cooper Cutts fourth and Fuhrmeister up to fifth.
Peter Clare leads the Masters class over Terry Knowles and Brad Russell, while Fuhrmeister leads the Radical Challenge standings with a round to go.
The final round of the Workhorse Radical Cup Australia Series will see the championship conclude at a ‘home’ circuit and the scene of Round 1 – Sydney Motorsport Park – in early November.